THIS isn’t the first time I have included The Hallows on my blog…
but, for the life of me, I cannot remember what it was that introduced them to me. Anyway; the three-piece Alternative-Pop band are, as they say, trying to make Pop more interesting and add new dimensions to it. This is evident in their latest single, Angel. The guys talk about its creation – and its epic, inspired bassline – and the upcoming album, Of Time and Tides. I ask about the album, and whether it was hard putting it all together; how they came together in the first place and what they are planning for the approaching months.
The trio has been following the fallout after the General Election and what it means to them; how they have been impacted by the Grenfell disaster – as have most people around the country – and what is on their minds right now.
In lighter diversions; they talk about touring and some cheeky insights; how they spend their spare time and the music that has inspired them to take up the craft.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Our week has been mixed really: we have been very saddened by the tragedy at Grenfell Tower, in which so many people have lost their lives, loved ones and their homes. We were fortunate enough to see Hans Zimmer at Wembley last night and it was a really uplifting experience – that was topped off by Hans donating the entire proceeds of the gig to those affected at Grenfell Tower.
Seeing the community; the love and support given by those who have rallied to help the survivors certainly restores faith in humanity.
For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?
The Hallows are:
Sarah Rodriguez – Vocals, Keyboards and Keytar
Joe Rodriguez – Drums
Dave Pugh – Bass and Fake Guitars
We are a three-piece Alternative-Pop/Rock band that is on a mission to make Pop more interesting, emotive and original.
If you like big pop hooks, dirty bass riffs and high energy live performances then you might love us…
Have you been following things since the General Election result? Is it quite an unsettling time for musicians and the country would you say?
I think the whole country was taken by surprise by the result and it has thrown up a large amount of uncertainty.
On the upside, though, it has opened up a lot of discussion and has really engaged people who may have felt disenfranchised by politics – so, if this election has galvanised debate and shown that every vote can make a difference then it is a positive thing.
We just think that the world needs a bit more kindness and compassion.
Angel is your upcoming single. What can you reveal about its inspiration?
Angel is a song that is really close to our hearts as it was one of the first tracks that we wrote for this album.
Sarah’s lyrics are quite dark on this track and it is in essence about being torn between what you want to do and what you have to do – it’s a critique on servitude…with a great dirty bass riff that will melt your face.
It will be taken from the album, Of Time and Tides. What subjects and themes will you be exploring in the album?
We wanted to album to evoke feelings of a bygone era, with a dramatic and theatrical mood. The main theme of the album is that time waits for no one and that we really need to seize the day and live in the moment.
The songs explore love, hope; passion and more melancholy topics like despair, loneliness and anger – pretty much the human experience!
Has it been quite a hard record to put together in terms of time and energy or has it been a rewarding experience?
It has been an amazing and truly memorable experience that has been hugely rewarding and challenging in equal measure.
We had the pleasure of working with a fantastic producer and friend (Seb Pecchia) who extended us incredible hospitality. We loved every moment of the recording process with particular high-points been Sarah drinking red wine – laid out on a couch doing the vocals for several of the tracks (its unorthodox but it works for her!) – and hearing Dave’s riff on Angel come to life on a huge set of mastering speakers.
Anyone who says that putting together an album is easy should really drop us some tips for the next one…
How did you guys all get together in the first place? Did you find one another gradually or know each other from way back?
We all met at the same time whilst at university and ended up sharing houses over the years – as well as playing in bands and working on sessions together.
It really is (like) a bizarre family unit in which everyone can speak their mind without fear of really offending each other.
What with Sarah and Joe being a married couple; Dave serves as a somewhat dysfunctional and unruly child.
Where are you all based at the moment? Are you in Milton Keynes or London? How important is that area and its people when it comes to your music?
We are split between Milton Keynes (Sarah and Joe) and Warwick (Dave) – it is only an hour door-to-door from our houses – so the distance is no problem.
The area and its people have been very important to us and we have been amazed by the support and love that we have received from M.K.-based music-lovers – we are also fortunate to have some amazing venues in M.K. that really support local artists – such as Unit 9, MK11; The Stables and The Craufurd Arms – it makes for a very vibrant and exciting scene.
Will you be touring Of Time and Tides in the coming months? Where can we expect to see you play?
We are planning to tour the U.K. in August.
We are pending (on) confirming the dates and venues and will be releasing this information in the near-future!
How did you all get into music? Did you grow up surrounded by music or was there a spark that lit the fuse?
We all are up in musical households and were all fortunate enough to have very supportive families – who saw the value in what we wanted to do.
Having music in the household from an early age is a strong memory for all of us – and we feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to pursue our passion.
Do you get the chance to hang out away from The Hallows? What do you all do in your spare time?
We do hang out frequently away from the rehearsal room and we all have a very healthy appreciation of good food and good alcohol. We like nothing more than putting the world to rights over unhealthy amounts of red wine, craft beer and whatever food is on the table!
We also have a lot of love for seeing other bands playing live and regularly go out and watch performances by musicians of all genres.
It keeps us inspired and humble; there is a lot of talent out there!
What does the summer hold for the group? Any festivals or plans for you?
We have some festival dates in the diary at the moment and are in the process of adding more dates.
As it stands, the summer will be very busy and exciting for us and we can’t wait to get out and play in so many different towns and venues.
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Joe – Check out Toffees from Dunstable
They are a killer band with awesome songs – and you really couldn’t hope to meet a nicer group of people.
A standout track for me is Grace – which is simply amazing!
Dave – We are good friends with a band called The Shamed
They are an awesome outfit who specialise in dirty, melodic Rock
They have beautiful songs, are ferocious live and they really do deserve your listening attention!
Sarah – We are also big fans of the Northampton-based band, We Are Giants
They are really exciting live and have some serious attitude in their music.
If you like your music huge and quirky then check them out!
If you each had to select the album that has meant the most to you; which would they be and why?
Dave – Rage Against the Machine by Rage Against the Machine
This album is an amazing mix of huge and memorable riffs, visceral grooves; one-of-a-kind guitar-playing and aggressive, politically-charged lyrics. Tom Morello is a truly unique guitarist who is impossible to emulate and the overall sound and energy that the band generate have a deep resonance with me.
I have taken huge inspiration from the riffs on tracks such as Know Your Enemy and Bullet in the Head; whilst Killing in the Name and Wake Up are simply iconic compositions.
The fact that the album was released in 1992 and still sounds current today is an amazing achievement – and, if anything, Zack De la Rocha’s messages within this album are even more relevant in today’s world.
When I listen to any track from this album I still get the same feeling as when I first heard them – no matter how many times I have it on repeat!
Joe – Dust by The Screaming Trees
This album first came to my attention when one of my good friends, Luke Guilford (who is the owner of The Record Deck: the U.K.’s only floating record store) lent me a copy – that he never got back.
Luke has always been a purveyor of good music and this album was no exception. It is a wonderful melancholic and powerful record that has sublime hooks and a depth in the lyrics that can evoke incredible imagery.
Songs like All I Know, Halo of Ashes and Dying Days are incredible examples of melodic Rock done in the coolest and most inspiring way – whilst tracks like Gospel Plow and Sworn and Broken show a softer and more cinematic side to the band.
The Screaming Trees can rock with the best of them and this album has moments that are really euphoric and uplifting. Mark Lanegan is a genius and this album is a real treasure.
Sarah – Speak For Yourself by Imogen Heap
Imogen Heap has had a big influence on me and this album sums up the reasons why I love her music. It is thoughtful, varied and has so much texture that every listen seems to reveal detail that I haven’t noticed before.
She has such a quirky approach to songwriting and melody and always has the ability to surprise you by the way her songs develop. Imogen Heap can also be surprisingly visceral and aggressive.
I love the fact that she can flow between such different sounds – and yet it all feels totally cohesive. This album is a beautiful fusion of the electronic and organic – and it never fails to inspire me.
The Walk is so driving and dramatic and Closing In is such a lovely Pop ballad with an amazing chorus.
What advice would you give to any new artists starting out right now?
Be prepared to work very hard: practice whenever you can and really think about the quality of your songs – you will need to be your own harshest critic and you will also need to have thick skin as you will never please everyone.
Most of all, be decent people: no-one wants to work with a band/artist that is arrogant and rude.
Finally, and for being good sports, you can each name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Dave – Cry of Achilles by Alter Bridge
Joe – Smooth Sailing by Queens of the Stone Age
Sarah – Cut Your Teeth by Kyla La Grange
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